Sierra Leoneans in the northern part of the country have lauded the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources for signing landmark agreement for the development of the Pepel Port and Pepel – Tonkolili Railway with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms Ltd. 

The project many believed that would be a better deal not only for the Northern Region but for the people of Sierra Leone and the lease agreement that gives a 10 per cent free carry to the Government of Sierra Leone and provide access to rail and port facilities to other bulk mineral producers in the Northern Region of the country.

Speaking on the agreement and terms, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, said the project is part of the reforms in the mining sector which the government intends to open the space for more players to participate, emphasizing that ARISE IIP is a credible company with a reputation for developing and managing infrastructures in Africa.

“This agreement is taking a government asset from the monopoly to be more accessible. The revival of the mining operation requires significant investment in infrastructure for the country to fully benefit from the growth of its mining output,” he asserted.

Speaking on the agreement, Rose Thompson, an expert with the government congratulated the Government for the proactive measure taken.

She said, “This is a sound legal agreement. It’s fit for purpose. This is about creating a level playing field; with a view to allow other independent players such as ARISE company to be involved.  We hope this is the end of monopoly in the management of rail and port in Sierra Leone. Transparency is curial. However, citizens must stay alert and ensure this deal is implemented as stated in the agreement. Civil society, the media and everyone have important role to play to ensure a level playing field.’’

The Government’s goal which was not to continue with business as usual, initiate  the people of Sierra Leone has been steadfast in the search and implementation of many projects conducting extensive economic calculations and making plans for how the takeover would work as believed by many Sierra Leoneans.

In his statement, the Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura also stated that ARISE IIP is a sector specialist firm with a proven record across Africa in managing infrastructure and they are signing this agreement after several consultations, due diligence, and approval from the cabinet with concurrence from the Ministry of Finance.

He gave assurance that the agreement signed is of the best interest of the Government and people of Sierra Leone and that after the signing, the agreement will be taken to parliament for ratification.

The Pepel Port and Pepel – Tonkolili Railway business plan, financial model and pre-feasibility studies estimates a total investment of USD 476 million covering the refurbishment of the railway work, Pepel Port, the railway connectivity to Marampa mines, the introduction of passenger rail services and the rail connection to Guinea which is not only the revitalization of the rail system in Sierra Leone but also a strategic development in the transport sector.